Do you wish to become a Certified Industrial Hygienist; in this article we will be considering “How To Become A Certified Industrial Hygienist“.
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted more than 50 years ago, workplaces in the United States are still dangerous. According to a report from the AFL-CIO for the year 2021, an estimated 95,000 workers died in 2019 from illnesses that occurred while at work. In the same year, workplace hazards caused the deaths of 275 workers each day.
Every worker has the right to be safe at work. Industrial hygienists safeguard health and safety on the site and in the community by combining their knowledge of science and engineering.
What is the work of an industrial hygienist?
- To assist in preventing illness or injury, industrial hygienists anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control hazards.
- They enforce occupational regulations and protect workers and the general public in their communities and across a wide range of industries.
- They prevent workplace illnesses and accidents by using practical, life-saving knowledge of everything from the flammability of materials to the measurement of carbon monoxide levels to prevent toxicity.
- Inspecting machines and work equipment
- Recognizing safety protocols for different environments
- Writing and presenting reports
- Developing new safety-enhancing workplace processes
- Introducing employees to safety measures
- Conducting investigations into workplace accidents and safety incidents.
- Keeping workplace noise under control
- Working with curators at museums
- Ensuring the safety of firefighters
- Contributing to efforts to respond to emergencies
- Training and educating the employees on hazardous agents like asbestos, pesticides, and radon gas
Some positions require a master’s degree. Degree fields include industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety, biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics. Salary $87,718 per year (2020 median salary for all industrial hygienists) Job Outlook (2019-2029) 4% growth (for all occupational health and safety specialists and technicians).
A bachelor’s degree is required to work as a certified industrial hygienist. Industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety, biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics are all relevant fields of study. Depending on the position, some may only require one year of experience, others take at least three to five years.
Industrial hygienists need to be physically fit and able to use complicated testing equipment.
Industrial hygienists implement safety measures that address various types of hazards such as:
• Disease transmission (laboratories or healthcare settings)
- Respiratory conditions (mines or factories where workers inhale dust)
- Skin diseases (work environments where chemicals are used)
- Hearing loss (loud work environments like construction sites or airports)
- Repetitive stress injuries (work environments where workers repeatedly perform the same motions)
How To Become A Certified Industrial Hygienist
Education and Skills needed for an Industrial Hygienist to get certified
To get a better understanding of how to become an industrial hygienist, take into consideration the educational requirements, work experience, and skills needed for the job.
- Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree: Industrial hygienists require a bachelor’s degree in industrial hygiene or a related field like engineering, chemistry, physics, or biology. The degree can provide crucial technical knowledge in the sciences or a foundation in accident prevention and occupational safety management. Occupational health, chemistry, biology, engineering, and physics are all relevant bachelor’s degree programs that prospective industrial hygienists can complete.
There is no particular degree in industrial hygiene. In order to become a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), students must fulfill specific occupational hygienist coursework requirements set forth by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). Students must complete 180 academic contact hours of industrial hygiene courses, regardless of their major. At least half of these 180 academic hours must be spent on the general topics of industrial hygiene fundamentals, controls, measurements, and industrial hygiene toxicology. The remaining coursework might cover dangers like lead, asbestos, confined spaces, and mold.
Internship opportunities are available in the majority of industrial hygiene and occupational health and safety bachelor’s degree programs. These experiences can take place in government, industry, and business, among other places. Students can learn more about the duties of an industrial hygienist and gain practical work experience by participating in an internship.
- Get work experience: Industrial hygienists must acquire work experience in the field in order to become certified. Various threats to employee health should be addressed in the industrial hygiene work. For the ABIH CIH exam, completing an ABET-accredited Masters program in Industrial Hygiene counts as one full year of professional experience.
Industrial hygienists have the opportunity to put what they’ve learned in the classroom into practice through work experience.
It is necessary to receive the job experience in order to acquire knowledge of the various applicable laws and inspection methods for various workplaces.
Training will be tailored to the workplace of the individual. A factory-based industrial hygienist, for instance, will receive different training than an office-based one. Individuals are supervised by an experienced professional at the beginning of training. Supervision can last up to a year, depending on the complexity of the job.
- Majority of employers prefer to hire industrial hygienists with CIH certification. The organization that offers the examination necessary to become a CIH is the ABIH. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university that includes specific industrial hygiene-related coursework, professional field experience, and two professional work references to be eligible for the CIH exam.
A certification as an industrial hygienist shows a professional’s high level of expertise and education in the field. Industrial hygienists looking to get a job or advancement in their careers have a competitive advantage thanks to this.
To apply for the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) certification, industrial hygienists must have several years of work experience, provide references, and pass an exam.
- Maintain Certification: Every five years, the CIH certification must be renewed. The ABIH established a point system as part of the many steps that make up the certification maintenance procedure. In addition to general professional work, the points can be earned by taking additional educational courses, teaching, mentoring, attending conferences, giving presentations, authoring, and participating in committees. Hygienists can also choose to retake the exam rather than earn maintenance credits for their certification.
- A master’s degree may be required for more advanced positions and may make one eligible for leadership roles, despite the fact that a bachelor’s degree is one of the primary qualifications for occupational hygienists. Master’s degrees are available in various fields such as public health, industrial hygiene, and the sciences of occupational and environmental health. The fundamentals of public health, environmental sampling and analysis, applied biostatistics, and evaluation of chemical hazards are all covered in these graduate programs’ curriculum.
Despite the fact that it is not always necessary, obtaining a Master’s degree in industrial hygiene, fosters adequate comprehension of the effects of substances and chemicals on the body as well as the environment.
Among the most important subjects covered by such curriculum are the identification, evaluation, and control of workplace health hazards through the analysis of toxicological and epidemiological data.
- Become a Member of a Professional Organization: There are a number of professional organizations for industrial hygienists from which you can choose to network with others in your field and discover opportunities for career advancement. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), for instance, offers numerous opportunities for professional development. Another option with a number of advantages is the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).
Essential Skills for Industrial Hygienists
Industrial hygienists require exceptional interpersonal and technical abilities.
- Communication Skills: Industrial hygienists are required to explain safety procedures, the use of protective gear, the purpose and function of engineering controls like ventilation, and a variety of safety concepts and practices. This necessitates clear communication and making complex ideas understandable to employees who may not be familiar with scientific concepts.
- Attention to Detail: Industrial hygienists must pay attention to the smallest of details to avoid ignoring health and safety risks or failing to follow safety procedures.
- Problems solving skills: Industrial hygienists come up with solutions for health and safety issues as well as ways to avoid them in the future. This necessitates creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Excellent problem-solving skills are also required to design protective processes and controls that ensure the safety of workers.
- Industrial hygienists must be able to collaborate effectively with technicians. Students can benefit from psychology and public speaking classes to improve these skills.
A career in industrial hygiene can safeguard workers’ health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2019, 2.8 million injuries and illnesses were sustained by private sector workers alone. 5,333 people died from workplace injuries in the same year. It is undeniable that skilled industrial hygienists are in high demand.
Industrial hygienists are also known as occupational health and safety specialists.
According to Salary.com‘s 2020 wage data, the median annual salary for industrial hygienists was $87,718. During the same time period, the 10% of workers in this industry with the highest pay averaged $119,058 and the 10% with the lowest pay averaged $63,885. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that between 2019 and 2029, the number of people working in this field will grow by about 4%.
Possible workplaces available for occupational hygienists include factories, office settings, construction sites, waste disposal and treatment plants, hospitals, government sites.